by Bon August F. Decena and Dr. Mirasol Pampolino
Deputy Director, IPNI Southeast Asia Program
Corn is the next top produced crop in the Philippines after rice. Last year, the country has recorded an all-time high, 7.9 metric tons yield of corn – a great number due to gradual expansion of corn-planted areas as more and more farmers are being interested in joining corn farm industry.
However, the fertilizer usage in corn farming declines. Unlike other crops, corn needs a higher dosage of fertilizers to fulfill its needs to grow and produce higher yield. And with corn areas continue to grow, its potential suggests to set a higher record of yield in the next years if our farmer will be technically-equipped, especially in corn plant nutrition.
In this digital age, computer technology is one of the viable tools eyed to help our farmers. Precision agriculture, or farming with the help of computers, promises a great change not only in the yield and profit of our farmers, but also in their lifestyle and perception in today’s technology, as they also need to catch up with our fast-changing world.
Good thing, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has developed Nutrient Expert®, a nutrient decision support tool for computers and mobile devices that provide our farmers site-specific recommendations based on their farm practices and characteristics of their farms.
ATLAS CORN FERTILIZER GUIDE
Through the partnership of Atlas Fertilizer Corporation (AFC) with IPNI Southeast Asia Program, the Nutrient Expert® for Maize – Philippines was adapted to “Atlas Corn Fertilizer Guide” to enable the recommendation of Atlas products to our valuable corn farmers.
This software application aims to help Filipino corn farmers by assessing their farm management and situation, and thereafter, by giving back site-specific nutrient management guide.
The farmer-user will only supply all necessary details about his existing farm practices, his usual or average yield record, and the characteristics of his farm’s soil and environment.
In return, Nutrient Expert will recommend a nutrient management that observes 4R principles – right source, right rate, right time, and right place or method of application of fertilizers – to increase farm productivity, and at the same time, to gear towards farm sustainability.
SMART CORN FARMERS
Since its launch in November 2016, Nutrient Expert® for Maize – Philippines has provided thousands of recommendations throughout the country.
In the town of Tayabas in the province of Quezon, the yield of corn farmers who tried Nutrient Expert in their farms has increased a minimum of 6 metric tons per hectare.
One of these famers who became smarter by subscribing to Nutrient Expert for site-specific guidance in their fertilizer management is Racquel Sauqillo. At first, she has only allocated a hectare for her corn farming; but now that she can see the benefit of using the software, she has largely expanded her corn farm to 25 hectares.
Seasons after seasons of use of Nutrient Expert, Racquel learned a lot of science-based techniques in corn farming, from seed selection to proper plant nutrition. With the software recommendation, she did not only generate higher profit, but also realized to take good care of her farm’s soil and environment through balanced fertilizer application.
Today, corn area in Tayabas has expanded to a total of 200 hectares. This is because Racquel and her co-members in West Tayabas Corn Farmers Association had spread the wildfire of knowledge in corn planting throughout the town.
Racquel is just one of the millions of smart farmers around the world who benefit from the use of Nutrient Expert, as the software application is also available for other crops, like wheat and soybean, to the farmers in various regions of Asia and Africa.
TO STRONGER PARTNERSHIP
Nutrient Expert for Maize in the Philippines is a product of extensive years of research of IPNI, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). Their continuous effort to conduct research has produced tons of data that the software program currently uses as basis in creating site-specific recommendations.
Having the same goal with these institutions to guide our Filipino farmers technically, Atlas has partnered with IPNI, not only in creating its version of Nutrient Expert for Corn, but also to research and develop Atlas Fertilizer Guide for Sugarcane – the first of its kind in the world.
With this, a stronger and more productive partnership of Atlas and IPNI in providing quality research and technology is being eyed in the upcoming years, and it just started with the success of Atlas Corn Fertilizer Guide.
Get your own Atlas Corn Fertilizer Guide recommendation from our field agronomists near you! The original Nutrient Expert® for Maize version can also be downloaded in software.ipni.net.